Tag Archives: Santee Library

2009, A Santee Review – Part 2

As I indicated yesterday, I’m using these last few days of the year to look back over 2009. In Part 1 I reviewed January through April, so today we begin with May.

May actually started off with a post on an event from the end of April. On April 30 Simply Spa held a Wellness Expo and Open House to provide an opportunity for people to learn about massage, chiropractics, acupuncture, and nutrition. The evening was quite successful, with a good deal of information being shared. The first few days of the month also included promotional posts for the final “Love and Forgiveness” series discussion at the Santee Library, the Post Office’s annual Stamp Out Hunger Day, and River Days. Later in the month I posted on an E-Waste Recycling event, new restrictions due to the ongoing drought, the Hollywood Tans third anniversary celebration, and the May Chamber Mixer.

The first big event of the month was the grand opening ceremony for Marketplace at Santee – also known as the Henry’s Center. This is the shopping center that was built on the site of the old roller rink on Mission Gorge Rd. The event included music from the West Hills High School Pep Band, the obligatory speeches, and dedication of the Santee Schools Arts Attack Tile Project – a series of decorative tiles created by local students. Each of the students involved in the project was honored and given a certificate and a gift bag.

Not as big, but important in other ways, was the Frubble After-Prom Party. This event was created to provide students with a safe, alcohol-free activity to go to after their prom (after all, who wants to go home right after the prom?). The party included $1 frubble drinks, snacks, and music provided by DJ ANOMIE and the Mayors of Sexy Town.

The real BIG EVENT of the month was the first Santee Street Fair. This was an amazing event on many levels. First of all, the planning for the Street Fair didn’t even start until January. In just a matter of a few months the Chamber of Commerce was able to pull together scores of interested participants, plow through red tape, promote the heck out of the event, and live through it all. The few thousand that the Chamber hoped would attend became tens of thousands, and all this with very few minor problems and no major ones.

June started off with a promotional post for the annual San Diego’s Best 2009 survey/competition from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Two Santee businesses, Domo Sushi and Santee Lakes Campground, were nominated and one, Santee Lakes, won its category. Now, I’m not saying that I had anything to do with their victory, but…

Early in June I posted a more detailed review of the Santee Street Fair, including more photos. Another event I covered was the seventh annual Legoland Teachers Are Heroes award ceremonies, during which teachers from Cajon Park School and Rio Seco School were among the dozen educators honored. During June I also wrote about the new off-leash dog parks, the Greater East County Chambers of Commerce Alliance (GECCA) Networking Trade Show, Frubble’s first Open Mic Night, and the monthly After-5 Mixer. June also saw two fund raising events, the Friendly Grounds Pancake Breakfast for Santee Santas and the 6th Annual Golf Classic to support the Santee Schools Foundation. Oh, yes, and I posted two Food Patrols on Frubble and Domo Sushi.

Above all, June marks the beginning of the annual Santee Summer Concert Series. Every year this musical extravaganza features popular local groups performing in the Trolley Square amphitheater. This year the June concerts featured 80z All Stars, Lindsay Spurlock, and the Cat-illacs.

As busy as May and June were, I’m going to end here and pick up with July in my next post.


Filed under Business, Chamber Activities, Community, Entertainment, Health, On Food Patrol

2009, A Santee Review – Part 1


Here at the end of the year, with little going on, I thought it would be a good time to look back over the past 12 months and see what has happened in Santee. In spite of the down economy and the poor housing market, there were a lot of positives. So, without further ado, a review of Santee 2009.

The year kicked off with the Santee Library hosting the first of a series of book discussions centered around the themes of “Love and Forgiveness.” The series was developed by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute, and the Santee Library was one of 50 around the country chosen to take part. Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at CSU San Marcos, was the host/moderator for the series, which ran through May. Also in January were the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Installation Dinner (which I was unable to attend) and monthly Sunrise Santee and After-5 Mixer. On the down side, I posted a request for help from the Sheriff’s Department after a high school student was attacked by one of a group of 8 young men, suffering severe injuries. I did not hear what followed on the incident.

My final post in January, on the new Edgemoor Hospital facilities, has, interestingly enough, become the top post on my blog. I wrote the post after going to an Open House held at the new location, and after reading a rather scathing opinion piece in the Union-Tribune. In contrast to the impression in the U-T article, I was very impressed with the facilities and the people I met there. The new hospital is now completely up and running and the old facilities are scheduled for the wrecking ball this week.

February started off on a decided down note with the coverage of the search for two suspects in a horrifying child molestation case. Aaron Zendejas had been arrested for providing children he had been hired to babysit to Jared Yaffe, who was wanted in multiple states on child pornography charges. Zendejas later pleaded guilty to charges and faces 15 years to life in prison; Yaffe was arrested in Brazil and will stand trial in April. Also on the crime scene, a postal employee was arrested for stealing gift cards from his route and possibly the post office as well.

On a more positive note, Cajon Park School held a dedication ceremony for its new classroom building and an Open House for the community to see all the work that had been done through the Proposition R programs. This included renovations on the existing buildings and the reconfiguration of their circular classroom building into a Library/Media Center. The new building has classrooms for 5th and 6th grade upstairs and 7th and 8th (junior high) downstairs. The upstairs section is connected to the main school buildings by a bridge.

In February I also wrote a new On Food Patrol about Mimi’s Cafe, a Meet Your Neighbor for the Santee Library’s speaker series, and previews for a Chamber Small Business Seminar, the Miss Santee Pageant, and the Christian Youth Theater production of Honk.

March was a busy month both in Santee and here on the blog. I did one more post on Honk and covered the PLAY (Performing Lakeside Acting Youth) production of Beauty and the Beast at Lakeside Middle School. I missed the Miss Santee Pageant, but I did post a short piece on the winners, Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Ehlke. These two young women have been very dedicated and involved representatives of the city. I also introduced the Santee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, who were kicking off the Shop Santee and Save campaign focusing on Santee’s low sales tax rate. The month ended with a post on the preparation work that the U.S. Census was doing for the upcoming 2010 Census.

Every year March brings Santree Fest, a celebration of Earth Day and recognition of Santee as an official Tree City by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This year the event was held at Mast Park, located between Carlton Hills Blvd. and the Wal-Mart shopping center, along the San Diego River. The day included tree planting, trash and non-native vegetation removal, and information booths. There was also entertainment by the group Virtual Strangers, a tree climbing demonstration by West Coast Arborists, and plenty of food provided by local eateries. One of the sponsors of the event, the San Diego River Park Foundation, would be involved in other activities during the year.

April was as busy as March, if not more so. The big event in April, and very likely the year, was the grand opening of the first Sonic Drive In in San Diego County. Not only did it create huge lines all around the restaurant on Mission Gorge, it gave me my biggest single day of traffic, with nearly 600 hits. Because I write about Santee, and am part of the Chamber of Commerce, I was able to attend the special VIP event prior to the full opening on the Monday, April 6. Later on I posted some tips for cutting the hassle of waiting in line, and even a taste-off between Sonic and In-N-Out.

A second major event in April was the Spring Eggstravaganza at Santee Lakes, presented by the City of Santee and Padre Dam. The day included egg hunts, games, rides, and food. Primo DJ provided music and an army of volunteers kept everything running smoothly for the families that came to enjoy the fun. Another important event at Santee Lakes was the annual Relay for Life of Santee for the American Cancer Society. This would be the tenth year for the Relay, which raises money and awareness for the fight against cancer.

Also this month were a pair of grand openings, Frubble and SewCalCuties, the new Santee Farmers Market, the monthly After-5 Mixer, and several other small events. I covered the Omelette Factory for another Food Patrol, did some updates on Sonic traffic, took part in the RiverBlitz survey along the San Diego River, and previewed two health-related events and a new CYT production.

It’s pretty clear that 2009 was a busy year in Santee. Rather than trying to review it all in one post, I will continue my look back with two follow-up posts. Meanwhile, enjoy the end of the year and remember not to drink and drive on New Year’s Eve.


Filed under Business, Chamber Activities, Community, Crime Watch, Entertainment, On Food Patrol, Schools

Final “Love and Forgiveness” Discussion

This coming Saturday, May 9, will be the final in a series of discussions on “Love and Forgiveness” at the Santee Library.  This five-part series has so far covered such works as Homer’s Iliad, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and Ana Castillo’s Guardians.  The final book under discussion is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, a story of music and an international hostage situation in an “unnamed” South American country.  The story revolves around an American opera singer who is chosen to perform at a birthday party given for a Japanese industrialist at the home of the country’s vice president.  Revolutionaries storm the party looking for the country’s president, who is not there, and the resulting hostage situation drags on interminably.  Reviewer Victoria Jenkins says that the book “remains a gentle reminder of the transcendence of beauty and love,” so it should be a good discussion.

The discussion begins at 10:30 am and will be led by Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, Associate Professor of Literature and Writing at Cal State San Marcos.  The Santee Library was one of 50 libraries nation-wide to receive grants through the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness to host this discussion series.

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“Love and Forgiveness” Book Discussion

With all that has been happening, I almost forgot that this Saturday is the fourth in a series of book discussions on the topics of love and forgiveness in literature.  This month the book under discussion is The Guardians by Ana Castillo, a novel that deals with illegal immigration, small-town life in New Mexico, and the search for one’s place in the world – told through four different first-person narrators.

The discussion series is funded by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness, with local support from the Santee Chamber of Commerce, the Santee Community Collaborative, and the Friends of the Santee Library.  The session begins at 10:30 am and will be led by Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at Cal State San Marcos.

The final discussion will be on Saturday, May 9 on Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

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Meet Your Neighbor – Allen Carlisle

Santee Lakes

This evening (Thursday, February 19) the Santee Library is holding its regular “Meet Your Neighbor” speaker series.  This month our neighbor is Allen Carlisle, Santee Lakes Park and Recreation Manager.  He is going to be talking about proposed developments at the Lakes and how they might impact the neighborhood.  This is a great opportunity to get more info about the Lakes and what is planned, as well as a chance to share your thoughts on the Lakes.

A side note: Santee Lakes will be the site next week (Wednesday, February 25) for a “Flip the Switch” ceremony to inaugurate a new solar energy system.  I’ll have more information on this soon.

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Santee Library Presents Reading & Discussion Series

The Santee Public Library has been chosen as one of fifty in the country to receive grant money to present a series of free lectures developed by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute.  The series, entitled “Let’s Talk About It: Love and Forgiveness,” is part of the Fetzer Institute’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness.  Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at CSU San Marcos, will lead these discussions on the themes of love and forgiveness in classic and contemporary literature.

The first work to be discussed will be Homer’s Iliad – not one most people think of for love and forgiveness (especially if you saw the Brad Pitt movie “Troy”).  However, if you read carefully you will find these themes throughout the story.  Professor Stoddard-Holmes will take participants through passages from this epic poem, discussing how these two themes work their way throughout.

This first of five meetings will be held Saturday, January 10, beginning at 10:30 am.  The series is sponsored in part by the Santee Chamber of Commerce, the Santee Community Collaborative, and Friends of the Santee Library.  The full schedule of discussions is:

January 10 – Iliad by Homer

February 14 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

March 14 – Embers by Sandor Marai

April 11 – The Guardians by Ana Castillo

May 9 – Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

For more information, contact the library at 619-448-1863.

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A New Brew Venue

Friendly Grounds CoffeehouseRibbon Cutting Ceremony

If you’re looking for a place for a cup of coffee without the pretentiousness and hype, there is a new spot in Santee to check out.  Friendly Grounds Coffeehouse, located in the same center as the Santee Library, had it’s grand opening on February 26, complete with ribbon cutting ceremony and enough java to keep you awake through the next 10 sessions of Congress.  The coffeehouse actually opened on December 19, 2007, but decided to wait until now for the Grand Opening ceremonies.  And if today was any indication, they should be around for quite some time. 

Now, first my disclaimer – I am not now, nor have I ever been a coffee drinker.  I love the smell of a good cup of coffee, but I’ve never been able to develop a taste for it.  That being said, I know there are a lot of people out there who truly enjoy their coffee, and if you like the drink and want something more friendly and open than the “Big S,” then do check Friendly Grounds out.  Friendly Grounds Coffeehouse (or FGC from here on out) is a community-oriented coffee shop.  It is run by The Carpenter’s House, a local church that is part of the much larger International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and their goal is to provide a place for people to gather, share fellowship, enjoy the community feel, and perhaps get a little closer to God.  I will say right now that, true to their stated intent, they do not hit you over tFriendly Grounds Coffeehousehe head with religion when you come in.  But enough about that for now.

The ceremony included an invocation by Steve Cofer, the Director of Coffeehouse Ministries, and a ribbon cutting by Santee Council Member Brian W. Jones.  Also in attendance were current Chamber of Commerce President Phil Simon, Past President (2006) Ike Enzenauer, Richard and Hartha Jackson, editors of the Santee ECHO, and Chamber Office Assistant Kelly Almack.

  One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk in is the openness of the layout.  The coffee bar area takes up a minimum of space – in fact, I was surprised at how many workers could fit back there without knocking each other over.  The main seating area includes various sizes of tables – from intimate tables for two up to tables for six – and also has some very comfortable-looking couches.  Very unusual for a coffee shop, but in keeping with the family- and community-friendly atmosphere, FGC has a children’s area that is partitioned off by a small white picket fence.  Inside are toys, games, and other items to keep young ones entertained while their parents enjoy their coffee in relative peace.  Also different is the music – they have an area where live performers can play to entertain the customers and crew.  And for you TV junkies, they have a big screen television set on closed caption so you can get your fix without disturbing anyone else (unless you really get into weather reports, or whatever else they might have on at the time).  FGC also has two side rooms – a college study room with full-window walls and free Wi-Fi access, and a conference room that can be, and often is, used for community groups like Bible study (which the church holds every Sunday), sports teams, and others.  Either of these rooms can be reserved simply by purchasing a FGC gift card and scheduling it with the managers.

Gary and Pat Craft
This brings me to the people at Friendly Grounds Coffeehouse.  Gary and Pat Craft, the managers, are two of the friendliest people you’ll meet around.  Pat is the dynamo – always on the move, always getting things done.  Gary seems more of the organizer/director type.  Of course, that might just have been the impression I got today.  But in spite of the activity of a grand opening, neither was too busy to stop and talk to me or to any of the others there.  The rest of the team was equally pleasant Barista Milt Mertonand helpful, from the counter people to Milt, the barista.

Last, but certainly not least, is their menu.  They have a variety of espresso-based coffee drinks, served hot or iced, and a selection of teas.  Their specialty is the Friendly Mocha – espresso with white chocolate and steamed milk, drizzled with caramel, topped with whipped cream, and drizzled with more caramel.  Sounds almost good enough to get me to try coffee – almost, but not quite.  The do have a very nice chai latte for the tea crowd, as well as a selection of scones, muffins, and other pastries.  The coffee is provided by a company called Crimson Cup out of Columbus, Ohio, that focuses on working with independent and small group coffee houses.  Coffee from Ohio? you might say – well, as the company points out, they don’t grow coffee in Seattle either.

I did read one other review of FGC that complained about the lighting – standard-issue strip fluorescent lights.  I can see where that could be a detriment for some people, but I doubt that most of the people who visit this establishment will be overly concerned.  And that is something they can probably make changes in later if they feel the need.  For now, what they offer is a comfortable, spacious, friendly place to meet for coffee or just to take a break in your busy day.  If you need something to read with your coffee, the library is just a few doors away, and if you get hungry there are some restaurants there as well.  So check them out, and let me know if you have as much fun as I did.

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